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Tai Chi training offered to health workers in primary care

Doctors and nurses in Somerset could soon be using the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi to help patients recover from heart attacks.

Somerset County Council is offering training to GPs, district nurses and other health workers so they can pass the skills to help patients.

According to the council, Tai Chi's slow and flowing martial arts moves help cardiac rehabilitation, prevent falls among the elderly and improve conditions like asthma and arthritis.

Ruth Sindall, curriculum manager for leisure, said: "Our qualified specialists already offer Tai Chi as a leisure activity and we want to broaden its scope.

"The benefits, particularly for recovering cardiac patients, are widely recognised and these courses have been developed building on our experience working with heart support groups, primary care trusts and patients themselves."

Health workers will get 12 hours training - and be expected to put in 60 hours of homework - before completing the course.

Councillor Justin Robinson said: "We try to offer a wide range of courses and activities that will be attractive to a range of people.

"In this case it's a chance for health professionals to add a new and exciting string to their bows, with great potential health benefits."

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Somerset County Council